Sen. Mary Landrieu and Rep. Larry Kissell, both Democrats, have introduced bills to force airlines to roll back excessive fees.
Landrieu said passengers should be able to check their first bag for free. After that, "If you want to bring five bags or if you want beer or wine, you can pay extra," she said.
Most of the new fees triggered by the recession, however, were unnecessary, she said.
"It would be like getting a hotel room and then when you're in the door, they charge you extra for sheets, extra for pillows, extra for blankets, and if you decide to take a shower, you have to pay a $15 charge," she said.
Passengers are finding their own ways of getting around the fees.
Kate Hanni, director of FlyersRights.org, said she uses vacuum-seal bags that compress the items in her carry-on bag. "I can fit three times the amount of clothes in a carry-on than I used to be able to," she said.
Clothing company Scottevest is selling travel clothing with over-sized pockets.
"You can fit all of your folded shirts, iPad, cellphone, iPod, sunglasses, camera, passport, keys -- you can put everything in the jacket that you would put in carry-on and you won't have to pay a carry-on fee, Hanni said.